There is nothing more powerful than the idea of equality for all people. Many constitutions have embodied the idea at their core.
Australia is renowned for being an egalitarian society, we believe in mateship and giving people a fair go. We strive for gender equality, equality of sexuality, equality in employment and education. We all strongly believe that equality builds stronger a society, a better place, a fairer place.
Equal access to products and services is another fundamental right.
There are 1.5 million solar rich households in Australia that enjoy clean cheap power. They are making a positive difference to our planet and also gain significantly financially by having cheap clean energy. They have found a way to avoid bill shock from their utilities. But if we dig a little deeper almost 98% of these 1.5 million solar households are owner-occupied. This is about 27% of all owner-occupied dwellings. Therein lies the problem and here we see the “solar divide” emerge.
30% of Australian households live in rental dwellings, meaning they don’t have equal access to the benefits of solar. They are unable to contribute to making a difference in a meaningful way to the environment.
This undermines a core value that we have as a society, which is equality for all in products and services.
Digital Solar is an important mechanism for households to avoid big energy bills and participate in society in reducing the effects of climate change. The evidence shows that solar makes a significant difference to people’s income inequality. It is important that access to solar for renters be made a priority, as more people rent because of the rising cost of home ownership in Australia.
The solar divide is not only a divide between households who have access to solar and households who don’t. It’s also a divide between people who can make a difference to climate change by participating in their homes. Renters are forced to buy dirty power or be financially disadvantaged by paying more for green power from their utilities.
Hence, in Australia we now have two classes of people – the solar rich and solar poor. This is the Great Solar Divide. This chasm between owner-occupiers and renters is ‘widening’, fraying the social cohesion brought about of equality. When you examine why has this happened. It becomes evident that it is because of the split incentive problem. Why would a renter invest in solar for a rental property when they may move out and why would a landlord give tenants free power by investing in solar?
Up to now the problem of the great solar divide has been largely invisible because of the split-incentive problem. Matter has solved the split incentive problem with the Digital Solar innovation.
However, the lack of knowledge about Digital Solar means that many people who are renting still have no access to solar.
Close the Solar Rich Gap is a campaign organized by Matter that aims to bridge the solar divide by educating renters and landlords on the benefits of having solar installed on rental properties.
Matter’s mission is to bring solar equality to renters. Our goal is to encourage 1.5 million rental properties to install solar, closing the gap for good.
With the help of supporters we can double the number of solar systems in Australia to 3.0 million households. Make a difference to the planet through cheap clean solar power, and bridge the divide between the solar rich and poor.
Access to clean cheap solar is essential in Australia because it is key to improving a country’s renewable footprint and economic prospects by lowing power prices to all, irrespective if they are renters or owner-occupiers.
Close the Solar Gap is aimed at making renters and landlords aware that they have the power to make a difference and it’s financially beneficial to do so. We want to advance both the individual and the community by promoting equality of solar for renters.